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Full text of "What became of the slaves on a Georgia plantation? Great auction sale of slaves, at Savannah, Georgia, March 2d & 3d, 1859. A sequel to Mrs. Kemble's Journal"

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ON   A 






MARCH  2d  &  3d,  1859. 




f  ^  <    : 

SA.1L,E    OF    SLA.VES. 

The  largest  sale  of  human  chattels  that  has  been  made  in  Star- 
Spangled  America  for  several  years,  took  place  on  Wednesday  and 
Thursday  of  last  week,  at  the  Race-course  near  the  City  of  Savan- 
nah, Georgia.  The  lot  consisted  of  four  hundred  and  thirty-six 
men,  women,  children  and  infants,  being  that  half  of  the  negro 
stock  remaining  on  the  old  Major  Butler  plantations  which  fell  to 
one  of  the  two  heirs  to  that  estate.  Major  Butler,  dying,  left  a 
property  valued  at  more  than  a  million  of  dollars,  the  major  part 
of  which  was  invested  in  rice  and  cotton  plantations,  and  the  slaves 
thereon,  all  of  which  immense  fortune  descended  to  two  heirs,  his 
sons,  Mr.  John  A.  Butler,  sometime  deceased,  and  Mr.  Pierce  M. 
Butler,  still  living,  and  resident  in  the  City  of  Philadelphia,  in  the 
free  State  of  Pennsylvania.  Losses  in  the  great  crash  of  1S57-8, 
and  other  exigencies  of  business,  have  compelled  the  latter  gentle- 
man to  realize  on  his  Southern  investments,  that  he  may  satisfy  his 
pressing  creditors.  This  necessity  led  to  a  partition  of  the  negro 
stock  on  the  Georgia  plantations,  between  himself  and  the  repre- 
sentative of  the  other  heir,  the  widow  of  the  late  John  A.  Butler, 
and  the  negroes  that  were  brought  to  the  hammer  last  week  were 
the  property  of  Mr.  Pierce  M.  Butler,  of  Philadelphia,  and  were  in 
fact  sold  to  pay  Mr.  Pierce  M.  Butler's  debts.  The  creditors  were 
represented  by  Gen.  Cadwalader,  while  Mr.  Butler  was  present  in 
person,  attended  by  his  business  agent,  to  -  attend  to  his  own 

The  sale  had  been  advertised  largely  for  many  weeks,  though  the 
name  of  Mr.  Butler  was  not  mentioned;  and  as  the  negroes  were 
known  to  be  a  choice  lot  and  very  desirable  property,  the  attend- 
ance of  buyers  was  large.  The  breaking  up  of  an  old  family  estate 
is  so  uncommon  an  occurrence  that  tlie  affair  was  regarded  with 
unusual  interest  throughout  the  South.  For  several  days  before 
the  sale  every  hotel  in  Savannah  was  crowded  with  negro  specula- 
tors from  North  and  South  Carolina,  Virginia,  Georgia,  Alabama, 
and  Louisiana,  who  had  been  attracted  hither  by  the  prospects  of 
making  good  bargains.  Nothing  was  heard  for  days,  in  the  bar- 
rooms and  public  rooms,  but  talk  of  the  great  sale ;  criticisms  of  the 
business  afi'airs  of  Mr.  Butler,  and  specuhitions  as  to  the  probable 
prices  the  stock  would  bring.  The  office  of  Joseph  Bryan,  the 
NegiC  l^roker,  who  had  the  management  of  the  sale,  was  thronged 
every  day  by  eager  inquirers  in  search  of  information,  and  by  some 
who  were  anxious  to  buy,  but  were  uncertain  as  to  whether  their 
securities  would  prove  acceptable.  Little  parties  were  made  up 
from  the  various  hotels  every  day  to  visit  the  Race-course,  distant 

some  three  miles  from  the  city,  to  look  over  the  chattels,  discuss 
their  points,  and  make  memoranda  for  guidance  on  the  day  of  sale. 
The  buyers  were  generally  of  a  rough  breed,  slangy,  profane  and 
bearish,  being  for  the  most  part  from  the  back  river  and  swamp 
plantations,  where  the  elegancies  of  polite  life  are  not,  perhaps, 
developed  to  their  fullest  extent.  In  fact,  the  humanities  are  sadly 
neglected  by  the  petty  tyrants  of  the  rice-fields  that  border  the 
great  Dismal  Swamp,  their  knowledge  of  the  luxuries  of  our  best 
society  comprehending  only  revolvers  and  kindred  delicacies. 

Your  correspondent  was  present  at  an  early  date ;  but  as  he 
easily  anticipated  the  touching  welcome  that  would,  at  such  a 
time,  be  oflSciously  extended  to  a  representative  of  The  Tribune, 
and  being  a  modest  man  withal,  and  not  desiring  to  be  the  recipient 
of  a  public  demonstration  from  the  enthusiastic  Southern  popula- 
tion, who  at  times  overdo  their  hospitality  and  their  guests,  he  did 
not  placard  his  mission  and  claim  his  honors.  Although  he  kept 
his  business  in  the  back-ground,  he  made  himself  a  prominent  figure 
in  the  picture,  and,  wherever  there  was  anything  going  on,  there 
was  he  in  the  midst.  At  the  sale  might  have  been  seen  a  busy  indi- 
vidual, armed  with  pencil  and  catalogue,  doing  his  little  utmost  to 
keep  up  all  the  appearance  of  a  knowing  buyer,  pricing  "likely  nig- 
ger fellers,"  talking  confidentially  to  the  smartest  ebon  maids, 
chucking  the  round-eyed  youngsters  under  the  chin,  making  an 
occasional  bid  for  a  large  family,  (a  low  bid — so  low  that  somebody 
always  instantly  raised  him  twenty-five  dollars,  when  the  busy  man 
would  ignominiously  retreat,)  and  otherwise  conducting  himself  like 
a  rich  planter,  with  forty  thousand  dollars  where  he  could  put  his 
finger  on  it.  This  gentleman  was  much  condoled  with  by  some 
sympathizing  persons,  when  the  particularly  fine  lot  on  which  he 
had  fixed  his  eye  was  sold  and  lost  to  him  forever,  because  he  hap- 
pened to  be  down  stairs  at  lunch  just  at  the  interesting  moment. 


The  negroes  came  from  two  plantations,  the  one  a  rice  plantation 
near  Darien,  in  the  State  of  Georgia,  not  far  from  the  great  Oke- 
fonokee  Swamp,  and  the  other  a  cotton  plantation  on  the  extreme 
northern  point  of  St.  Simon's  Island,  a  little  bit  of  an  island  in  the 
Atlantic,  cut  off  from  Georgia  mainland  by  a  slender  arm  of  the  sea. 
Though  the  most  of  the  stock  had  been  accustomed  only  to  rice  and 
cotton  planting,  there  were  among  them  a  number  of  very  passable 
mechanics,  who  had  been  taught  to  do  all  the  rougher  sorts  of 
mechanical  work  on  the  plantations.  There  were  coopers,  carpen- 
ters, shoemakers  and  blacksmiths,  each  one  equal,  in  his  various 
craft,  to  the  ordinary  requirements  of  a  plantation  ;  thus,  the  .  ;  ■p'irs 
could  make  rice-tierces,  and  possibly,  on  a  pinch,  rude  tuo.  ^nd 
buckets;  the  carpenter  could  do  the  rough  carpentry  about  the 
negro-quarters ;  the  shoemaker  could  make  shoes  of  the  fashion 
required  for  the  slaves,  and  the  backsmith  was  adequate  to  th-" 

manufacture  of  hoes  and  similar  simple  tools,  and  to  such  trifling 
repairs  in  the  blacksmithing  vray  as  did  not  require  too  refined  a 
skill.  Though  probably  no  one  of  all  these  would  be  called  a  supe- 
rior, or  even  an  average  -workman,  among  the  masters  of  the  craft, 
their  knowledge  of  these  various  trades  sold  in  some  cases  for  nearly 
as  much  as  the  man — that  is,  a  man  without  a  trade,  who  would  be 
valued  at  .^900,  would  readily  bring  §1,600  or  §1,700  if  he  was  a 
passable  blacksmith  or  cooper. 

There  were  no  light  mulattoes  in  the  whole  lot  of  the  Butler 
stock,  and  but  very  few  that  were  even  a  shade  removed  from  the 
original  Congo  blackness.  They  have  been  little  defiled  by  the  admix- 
ture of  degenerate  Anglo-Saxon  blood,  and,  for  the  most  part,  could 
boast  that  they  were  of  as  pure  a  breed  as  the  best  blood  of  Spain — 
a  point  in  their  favor  in  the  eyes  of  the  buyer  as  well  as  physiolo- 
gically, for  too  liberal  an  infusion  of  the  blood  of  the  dominant  race 
brings  a  larger  intelligence,  a  more  vigorous  brain,  which,  anon, 
grows  restless  under  the  yoke,  and  is  prone  to  inquire  into  the  defi- 
nition of  the  word  Liberty,  and  the  meaning  of  the  starry  flag  which 
waves,  as  you  may  have  heard,  o'er  the  land  of  the  free.  The  pure- 
blooded  negroes  are  much  more  docile  and  manageable  than  mulat- 
toes, though  less  quick  of  comprehension,  which  makes  them'preferred 
by  drivers,  v/ho  can  stimulate  stupidity  much  easier  than  they  can 
control  intelligence  by  the  lash. 

None  of  the  Butler  slaves  have  ever  been  sold  before,  but  have 
been  on  these  two  plantations  since  they  were  born.  Here  have 
they  lived  their  humble  lives,  and  loved  their  simple  loves;  here  were 
they  born,  and  here  have  many  of  them  had  children  born  unto 
them;  here  had  their  parents  lived  before  them,  and  are  now  rest- 
ing in  quiet  graves  on  the  old  plantations  that  these  unhappy  ones 
are  to  see  no  more  forever ;  here  they  left  not  only  the  well-known 
scenes  dear  to  them  from  very  baby-hood  by  a  thousand  fond  memo- 
ries, and  homes  as  much  loved  by  them,  perhaps,  as  brighter  homes 
by  men  of  brighter  faces;  but  all  the  clinging  ties  that  bound  them 
to  living  hearts  were  torn  asunder,  for  but  one-half  of  each  of 
these  two  happy  little  communities  was  sent  to  the  shambles,  to  be 
scattered  to  the  four  winds,  and  the  other  half  was  left  behind. 
And  who  can  tell  how  closely  intertwined  are  the  affections  of  a  little 
band  of  four  hundred  persons,  living  isolated  from  all  the  world 
beside,  from  birth  to  middle  age  ?  Do  they  not  naturally  become 
one  great  family,  each  man  a  brother  unto  each  ? 

It  is  true  they  were  sold  "in  families;"  but  let  us  see  :  a  man 
and  his  wife  were  called  a  "family,"  their  parents  and  kindred 
were  not  taken  into  account ;  the  man  and  wife  might  be  sold  to 
the  pine. woods  of  North  Carolina,  their  brothers  and  sisters  be  scat- 
tered through  the  cotton  fields  of  Alabama  and  the  rice  swamps  of 
Louisiana,  while  the  parents  might  be  left  on  the  old  plantation  to 
wear  out  their  weary  lives  in  heavy  grief,  and  lay  their  heads  in 
far-oft'  graves,  over  which  their  children  might  never  weep.     And 


no  account  coukl  be  taken  of  loves  that  "were  as  yet  unconsum- 
mated  by  marriage ;  and  how  many  aching  hearts  have  been 
divorced  by  this  summary  proceeding  no  man  can  ever  know. 
And  the  separation  is  as  utter,  and  is  infinitely  more  hopeless,  than 
that  made  by  the  Angel  of  Death,  for  then  the  loved  ones  are  com- 
mitted to  the  care  of  a  merciful  Deity  ;  but  in  the  other  instance, 
to  the  tender  mercies  of  a  slave-driver.  These  dark-skinned  un- 
fortunates are  perfectly  unlettered,  and  could  not  communicate  by 
•writing  even  if  they  should  know  where  to  send  their  missives. 
And  so  to  each  other,  and  to  the  old  familiar  places  of  their  youth, 
clung  all  their  sympathies  and  affections,  not  less  strong,  perhaps, 
because  they  are  so  few.  The  blades  of  grass  on  all  the  Butler 
estates  are  outnumbered  by  the  tears  that  are  poured  out  in  agony 
at  the  wreck  that  has  been  wrought  in  happy  homes,  and  the  crush- 
ing grief  that  has  been  laid  on  loving  hearts. 

But,  then,  what  business  have  "  niggers"  with  tears  ?  Besides, 
didn't  Pierce  Butler  give  them  a  silver  dollar  a-piece  ?  which  will 
appear  in  the  sequel.  And,  sad  as  it  is,  it  was  all  necessary,  be- 
cause a  gentleman  was  not  able  to  live  on  the  beggarly  pittance  of 
half  a  million,  and  so  must  needs  enter  into  speculations  which 
turned  out  adversely. 


The  negroes  were  brought  to  Savannah  in  small  lots,  as  many  at 
a  time  as  could  be  conveniently  taken  care  of,  the  last  of  them 
reaching  the  city  the  Friday  before  the  sale.  They  were  consigned 
to  the  care  of  Mr.  J.  Bryan,  Auctioneer  and  Negro  Broker,  who 
was  to  feed  and  keep  them  in  condition  until  disposed  of.  Imme- 
diately on  their  arrival  they  were  taken  to  the  Race-course,  and 
there  quartered  in  the  sheds  erected  for  the  accommodation  of  the 
horses  and  carriages  of  gentlemen  attending  the  races.  Into  these 
sheds  they  were  huddled  pell-mell,  without  any  more  attention  to 
their  comfort  than  was  necessary  to  prevent  their  becoming  ill  and 
unsaleable.  Each  "  family  "  had  one  or  more  boxes  or  bundles,  in 
which  were  stowed  such  scanty  articles  of  their  clothing  as  were 
not  brought  into  immediate  requisition,  and  their  tin  dishes  and 
gourds  for  their  food  and  drink. 

It  is,  perhaps,  a  fit  tribute  to  large-handed  munificence  to  say 
that,  when  the  negro  man  was  sold,  there  was  no  extra  charge  for 
the  negro  man's  clothes  ;  they  went  with  the  man,  and  were  not 
charged  in  the  bill.  Nor  is  this  altogether  a  contemptible  idea, 
for  many  of  them  had  worldly  wealth,  in  the  shape  of  clothing  and 
other  valuables,  to  the  extent  of  perhaps  four  or  five  dollars ;  and 
had  all  these  been  taken  strictly  into  the  account,  the  sum  total  of 
the  sale  would  have  been  increased,  possibly,  a  thousand  aollars. 
In  the  North,  we  do  not  necessarily  sell  the  harness  with  the  horse; 
why,  in  the  South,  should  the  clothes  go  with  the  negro  ? 

in  these  sheds  were  the  chaitels  huddled  together  on  the  floor, 

there  being  no  sign  of  bench  or  table.  They  eat  and  slept  on  the 
bare  boarcls,  their  food  being  rice  and  beans,  with  occasionally  a 
bit  of  bacon  and  corn  bread.  Their  huge  bundles  were  scattered 
over  the  floor,  and  thereon  the  slaves  sat  or  reclined,  when  not 
restlessly  moving  about,  or  gathered  into  sorrowful  groups,  discuss- 
ing the  chances  of  their  future  fate'.  On  the  faces  of  all  was  an 
expression  of  heavy  grief;  some  appeared  to  be  resigned  to  the 
hard  stroke  of  Fortune  that  had  torn  them  from  their  homes,  and 
were  sadly  trying  to  make  the  best  of  it ;  some  sat  brooding  moodi- 
ly over  their  sorrows,  their  chins  resting  on  their  hands,  their  eyes 
staring  vacantly,  and  their  bodies  rocking  to  and  fro,  with  a  rest- 
less motion  that  was  never  stilled  ;  few  wept,  the  place  was  too 
public  and  the  drivers  too  near,  though  some  occasionally  turned 
aside  to  give  way  to  a  few  quiet  tears.  They  were  dressed  in 
every  possible  variety  of  uncouth  and  fantastic  garb,  in  every  style 
and  of  every  imaginable  color  ;  the  texture  of  the  garments  was  in 
all  cases  coarse,  most  of  the  men  being  clothed  in  the  rough  cloth 
that  is  made  expressly  for  the  slaves.  The  dresses  assumed  by  the 
negro  minstrels,  when  they  give  imitations  of  plantation  character, 
are  by  no  means  exaggerated  ;  they  are,  instead,  weak  and  unable 
to  come  up  to  the  original.  There  was  every  variety  of  hats,  with 
every  imaginable  slouch ;  and  there  was  every  cut  and  style  of 
coat  and  pantaloons,  made  with  every  conceivable  ingenuity  of 
misfit,  and  tossed  on  with  a  general  appearance  of  perfect  looseness 
that  is  perfectly  indescribable,  except  to  say  that  a  Southern  negro 
always  looks  as  if  he  could  shake  his  clothes  off  without  taking  his 
hands  out  of  his  pockets.  The  women,  true  to  the  feminine  instinct, 
had  made,  in  almost  every  case,  some  attempt  at  finery.  All  wore 
gorgeous  turbans,  generally  manufactured  in  an  instant  out  of  a 
gay-colored  handkerchief  by  a  sudden  and  graceful  twist  of  the 
lingers  ;  though  there  was  occasionally  a  more  elaborate  turban,  a 
turban  complex  and  mysterious,  got  up  with  care,  and  ornamented 
with  a  few  beads  or  bright  bits  of  ribbon.  Their  dresses  were 
mostly  coarse  stuff,  though  there  were  some  gaudy  calicoes  ;  a  few 
had  ear-rings,  and  one  possessed  the  treasure  of  a  string  of  yellow 
and  blue  beads.  The  little  children  were  always  better  and  more 
carefully  dressed  than  the  older  ones,  the  parental  pride  coming 
out  in  the  shape  of  a  yellow  cap  pointed  like  a  mitre,  or  a  jacket 
with  a  strip  of  red  broadcloth  round  the  bottom.  The  children 
were  of  all  sizes,  the  youngest  being  fifteen  days  old.  The  babies 
were  generally  good-natured;  though  when  one  would  set  up  a 
yell,  the  complaint  soon  attacked  the  others,  and  a  full  chorus 
would  be  the  result. 

The  slaves  remained  at  the  Race-course,  some  of  them  for  more 
than  a,vf"eek,  and  all  of  them  for  four  days  before  the  sale.  They 
were  brought  in  thus  early  that  buyers  who  desired  to  inspect  them 
might  enjoy  that  privilege,  although  none  of  them  were  sold  at  pri- 
vate sale.     For  these  preliminary  days  their  shed  was  constantly 


visited  by  speculators.  The  negroes  were  examined  with  as  little 
consideration  as  if  tliej  had  been  brutes  indeed  ;  the  buyers  pull- 
ing their  mouths  open  to  see  their  teeth,  pinching  their  limbs  to 
find  how  muscular  they  were,  walking  them  up  and  down  to  detect 
any  signs  of  lameness,  making  them  stoop  and  bend  in  different 
ways  that  they  might  be  certain  there  was  no  concealed  rupture  or 
wound  ;  and  in  addition  to  all  this  treatment,  asking  them  scores  of 
questions  relative  to  their  qualifications  and  accomplishments.  All 
these  humiliations  were  submitted  to  without  a  murmur,  and  in 
some  instances  v/ith  good-natured  cheerfulness — where  the  slave 
liked  the  appearance  of  the  proposed  buyer,  and  fancied  that  he 
might  prove  a  kind  "  Mas'r." 

The  following  curiously  sad  scene  is  the  type  of  a  score  of  others 
that  were  there  enacted  : 

"  Elisha,"  chattel  No.  5  in  the  catalogue,  had  taken  a  fancy  to  a 
benevolent-looking  middle-aged  gentleman,  who  was  inspecting  the 
stock,  and  thus  used  his  powers  of  persuasion  to  induce  the  benevo- 
lent man  to  purchase  him,  with  his  wife,  boy  and  girl,  Molly,  Israel 
and  Sevanda,  chattels  Nos.  6,  7  and  8.  The  earnestness  with 
which  the  poor  fellow  pressed  his  suit,  knowing,  as  he  did,  that 
perhaps  the  happiness  of  his  whole  life  depended  on  his  success, 
was  touching,  and  the  arguments  he  used  most  pathetic.  He  made 
no  appeal  to  the  feelings  of  the  buyer;  he  rested  no  hope  on  his 
charity  and  kindness,  but  only  strove  to  show  how  well  worth  his 
dollars  were  the  bone  and  blood  he  was  entreating  him  to  buy. 

'•  Look  at  me,  Mas'r  ;  am  prime  rice  planter;  sho'  you  won't  find 
a  better  man  den  me ;  no  better  on  de  whole  plantation ;  not  a  bit 
old  yet ;  do  mo'*  v/ork  den  ever ;  do  carpenter  work,  too,  little ; 
better  buy  me,  Mas'r  ;  I'se  be  good  sarvant,  Mas'r.  Molly,  too,  my 
wife,  Sa,  fus'rate  rice  hand ;  mos  as  good  as  me.  Stan'  out  yer, 
Molly,  and  let  the  gen'lm'n  see." 

Molly  advances,  with  her  hands  crossed  on  her  bosom,  and  makes 
a  quick  short  curtsy,  and  stands  mute,  looking  jrppcalingly  in  the 
benevolent  man's  face.     But  Elisha  talks  all  tlie  faster. 

"  Show  mas'r  yer  arm,  Molly — good  arm  dat,  Mas'r — she  do  a 
heap  of  work  mo'  with  dat  ai-m  yet.  Let  good  Mas'r  see  yer  teeth, 
Molly — see  dat  Mas'r,  teeth  all  reg'lar,  all  good — she'm  young  gal 
yet.  Come  out  yer,  Israel,  walk  aroun'  an'  let  the  gen'lm'n  see 
how  spry  you  be" — 

Then,  pointing  to  the  three-year-oM  girl  who  stood  with  her  chub- 
by hand  to  her  mouth,  holding  on  to  her  mother's  dress,  and  un- 
certain what  to  make  of  the  strange  scene. 

"Little  Vardy's  only  a  chile  yet;  make  prime  gal  by-and-by. 
Better  buy  us,  Mas'r,  v.e'm  fus'  rate  bargain" — and  so  on.  But 
the  benevolent  gentleman  found  where  he  could  drive  a  closer  bar- 
gain, and  so  bought  somebody  else. 

Similar  scenes  were  transacting  all  the  while  on  every  side  — 
parents  praising  the  strength  and  cleverness  of  their  children,  and 


showing  off  every  muscle  and  sinew  to  the  very  best  advantage,  not 
with  the  excusable  pride  of  other  parents,  but  to  make  them  the 
more  desirable  iu  the  eyes  of  the  man-buyer;  and,  on  the  other 
hand,  chiklren  excusing  and  mitigating  the  age  and  inability  of 
parents,  that  they  might  be  more  marketable  and  fall,  if  possible, 
into  kind  hands.  Not  unfrequently  these  representations,  if  borne 
out  by  the  facts,  secured  a  purchaser.  The  women  never  spoke  to 
the  white  men  unless  spoken  to,  and  then  made  the  conference  as 
short  as  possible.  And  not  one  of  them  all,  during  the  whole  time 
they  were  thus  exposed  to  the  rude  questions  of  vulgar  men,  spoke 
the  first  unwomanly  or  indelicate  v.'ord,  or  conducted  herself  in  any 
regard  otherwise  than  as  a  modest  woman  should  do ;  their  conver- 
sation and  demeanor  were  quite  as  unexceptionable  as  they  would 
have  been  had  they  been  the  highest  ladies  in  the  land,  and  through 
all  the  insults  to  which  they  were  subjected  they  conducted  them- 
selves with  the  most  perfect  decorum  and  self-respect. 

The  sentiment  of  the  subjoined  characteristic  dialogue  was  beard 
more  than  once  repeated  : 

"  Well,  Colonel,  I  seen  you  looking  sharp  at  Shoemaker  Bill's 
Sally.     Going  to  buy  her  ? 

"  Well,  Major,  I  think  not.  Sally's  a  good,  big,  strapping  gal, 
and  can  do  a  heap  o'work ;  but  it's  five  years  since  she  had  any 
children.     She's  done  breeding,  I  reckon.'" 

In  the  intervals  of  more  active  labor,  the  discussion  of  the  re- 
opening of  the  slave  trade  was  commenced,  and  the  opinion  seemed 
to  generally  prevail  that  its  reestablishment  is  a  consummation 
devoutly  to  be  wished,  and  one  red-faced  Major  or  General  or  Cor- 
poral clenched  his  remarks  with  the  emphatic  assertion  that  "We'll 
have  all  the  niggers  in  Africa  over  here  in  three  years — we  won't 
leave  enough  for  seed." 


The  Race-course  at  Savannah  is  situated  about  three  miles  from 
the  city,  in  a  pleasant  spot,  nearly  surrounded  by  woods.  As  it 
rained  violently  during  the  two  days  of  the  sale,  the  place  was  only 
accessible  by  carriages,  and  the  result  was,  that  few  attended  but 
actual  buyers,  who  had  come  from  long  distances,  and  could  not 
afford  to  lose  the  opportunity.  If  the  affair  had  come  off  in  Yankee 
laud,  there  would  have  been  a  dozen  omnibuses  running  constantly 
between  the  city  and  the  Race-course,  and  some  speculator  would 
have  bagged  a  nice  little  sum  of  money  by  the  operation.  But 
nothing  of  the  kind  was  thought  of  here,  and  the  only  gainers  were 
the  livery  stables,  the  owners  of  which  had  sufiici'ent  Yankeeism  to 
charge  double  and  treble  prices. 

The  conveniences  for  getting  to  the  ground  were  so  limited  that 
there  were  not  enough  buyers  to  warrant  the  opening  of  the  sale 
for  an  hour  or  two  after  the  advertised  time.  They  dropped  in, 
however,  a  few  at  a  time,  and  things  began  to  look  more  encourag- 
ingly for  the  seller. 


The  nerrroes  looked  more  nncorafortable  than  ever  ;  the  close  con- 
finement in-doorsfor  a  number  of  days,  and  the  drizzly,  unpleasant 
weather,  began  to  tell  on  their  condition.  They  moved  about  more 
listlessly,  and  were  fast  losing  the  activity  and  springiness  they  had 
at  first  shown.  This  morning  they  were  all  gathered  into  the  long 
room  of  the  building  erected  as  the  "Grand  Stand"  of  the  Race- 
course, that  they  might  be  immediately  under  the  eye  of  the  buyers. 
The  room  was  about  a  hundred  feet  long  by  twenty  wide,  and  herein 
were  crowded  the  poor  creatures,  with  much  of  their  baggage, 
awaiting  their  respective  calls  to  step  upon  the  block  and  be  sold 
to  the  highest  bidder.  This  morning  Mr.  Pierce  Butler  appeared 
among  his  people,  speaking  to  each  one,  and  being  recognized  with 
seeming  pleasure  by  all.  The  men  obsequiously  pulled  ofi"  their 
hats  and  made  that  indescribable  sliding  hitch  with  the  foot  which 
passes  with  a  negro  for  a  bow;  and  the  women  each  dropped  the 
quick  curtsy,  which  they  seldom  vouchsafe  to  any  other  than  their 
legitimate  master  and  mistress.  Occasionally,  to  a  very  old  or 
favorite  servant,  Mr.  Butler  would  extend  his  gloved  hand,  which 
mark  of  condescension  was  instantly  hailed  with  grins  of  delight 
from  all  the  sable  witnesses. 

The  room  in  which  the  sale  actually  took  place  immediately  ad- 
joined the  room  of  the  negroes,  and  communicated  with  it  by  two 
large  doors.  The  sale  room  was  open  to  the  air  on  one  side,  com- 
manding a  view  of  the  entire  Course.  A  small  platform  was  raised 
about  two  feet  and  a-half  high,  on  which  were  placed  the  desks  of 
the  entry  clerks,  leaving  room  in  front  of  them  for  the  auctioneer 
and  the  goods. 

At  about  11  o'clock  the  business  men  took  their  places,  and  an- 
nounced that  the  sale  would  begin.  Mr.  Bryan,  the  Negro  Broker, 
is  a  dapper  little  man,  wearing  spectacles  and  a  yachting^  hat,  sharp 
and  sudden  in  his  movements,  and  perhaps  the  least  bit  in  the  world 
obtrusively  officious — as  earnest  in  his  language  as  he  could  be  with- 
out actual  swearing,  though  acting  much  as  if  he  would  like  to 
swear  a  little  at  the  critical  moment ;  Mr.  Bryan  did  not  sell  the 
goods,  he  merely  superintended  the  operation,  and  saw  that  the 
entry  clerks  did  their  duty  properly.  The  auctioneer  proper  was  a 
Mr.  Walsh,  who  deserves  a  word  of  description.  In  personal  ap- 
pearance he  is  the  very  opposite  of  Mr.  Bryan,  being  careless  in 
his  dress  instead  of  scrupulous,  a  large  man  instead  of  a  little  one, 
a  fat  man  instead  of  a  lean  one,  and  a  good-natured  man  instead  of 
a  fierce  one.  He  is  a  rollicking  old  boy,  with  an  eye  ever  on  the 
look-out,  and  that  never  lets  a  bidding  nod  escape  him  ;  a  hearty 
word  for  every  bidder  who  cares  for  it,  and  plenty  of  jokes  to  let  off 
when  the  business  gets  a  little  slack.  Mr.  Walsh  has  a  florid  com- 
plexion, not  more  so,  perhaps,  than  is  becoming,  and  possibly  not 
more  so  than  is  natural  in  a  whiskey  country.  Not  only  is  his  face 
red,  but  his  skin  has  been  taken  off  in  spots  by  blisters  of  some  sort, 
giving  him  a  peely  look;  so  that,  taking  his  face  all  in  all,  the  peeli- 


ness  and  the  redness  combined,  lie  looks  much  as  if  he  had  been 
boiled  in  the  same  pot  with  a  red  cabbage. 

Mr.  Walsh  mounted  the  stand  and  announced  the  terms  of  the 
sale,  "one-third  cash,  the  remainder  payable  in  two  equal  annual 
instalments,  bearing  interest  from  the  day  of  sale,  to  be  secured  by 
approved  mortgage  and  personal  security,  or  approved  acceptances 
in  Savannah,  Ga,,  or  Charleston,  S.  C.  Purchasers  to  pay  for 
papers."  The  buyers,  who  were  present  to  the  number  of  about 
two  hundred,  clustered  around  the  platform  ;  while  the  negroes,  who 
were  not  likely  to  be  immediately  wanted,  gathared  into  sad  groups 
in  the  back-ground,  to  watch  the  progress  of  the  selling  in  which 
they  were  so  sorrowfully  interested.  The  wind  howled  outside,  and 
through  the  open  side  of  the  building  the  driving  rain  came  pouring 
in  ;  the  bar  down  stairs  ceased  for  a  short  time  its  brisk  trade  ;  the 
buyers  lit  fresh  cigars,  got  ready  their  catalogues  and  pencils,  and 
the  first  lot  of  human  chattels  was  led  upon  the  stand,  not  by  a 
white  man,  but  by  a  sleek  mulatto,  himself  a  slave,  and  who  seems 
to  regard  the  selling  of  his  brethren,  in  which  he  so  glibly  assists, 
as  a  capital  joke.  It  had  been  announced  that  the  negroes  would 
be  sold  in  "families,"  that  is  to  say,  a  man  would  not  be  parted 
from  his  wife,  or  a  mother  from  a  very  young  child.  There  is  per- 
haps as  much  policy  as  humanity  in  this  arrangement,  for  thereby 
many  aged  and  unserviceable  people  are  disposed  of,  who  otherwise 
would  not  find  a  ready  sale. 

The  first  family  brought  out  were  announced  on  the  catalogue  as 


1.  George,       -         -         -         -     1:7     -         -         -  Prime  Cotton  Planter. 

2.  Sue, 2G     -         -        -  Prime  Rice  Planter. 

3.  George,      --.-6---  Boy  Child. 

4.  Harry,       -        -        -        -       2     -        -        -  Boy  Child. 

The  manner  of  buying  was  announced  to  be  bidding  a  certain 
price  a-piece  for  the  Avhole  lot.  Thus,  George  and  his  family  were 
started  at  $300,  and  were  finally  sold  at  §600  each,  being  |i2,400 
for  the  four.  To  get  an  idea  of  the  relative  value  of  each  one,  we 
must  suppose  George  worth  1 1,200,  Sue  worth  8^'00,  Little  George 
worth  ^200,  and  Harry  worth  $100,  Owing,  however,  to  some  mis- 
apprehension on  the  part  of  the  buyer,  as  to  the  manner  of  bidding, 
he  did  not  take  the  family  at  this  figure,  and  they  were  put  up  and 
sold  again,  on  the  second  day,  when  they  brought  §620  each,  or 
§2,480  for  the  whole — an  advance  of  §80  over  the  first  sale. 

Robert,  and  Luna  his  Avife,  who  were  announced  as  having 
"goitre,  otherwise  very  prime,"  brought  the  round  sum  of  §1,005 
each.  But  that  your  readers  may  have  an  idea  of  the  exact  man- 
ner in  which  things  are  done,  I  append  a  couple  of  pages  of  the 
catalogue  used  on  this  occasion,  which  you  can  print  verbatim : 

99 — Kate's  John,  aged  30;  rice,  prime  man. 
100 — Betsey,  2'J  ;  rice,  unsound. 
101— Kate,  6. 
102— Violet,  3  months. 

Sold  for  $510  each. 


103— Wooster,  45  ;  rice  hand,  and  fair  mason. 
104— Mary,  40  ;  cotton  hand. 

Sold  for  $300  each. 
105 — Commodore  Bob,  aged;  rice  hand. 
lOG — Kate,  aged  ;  cotton. 

107 — Linda,  19:  cotton,  prime  young  woman. 
lOS — Joe,  13  ;  rice,  prime  bov. 

Sold  for  $600  each.  ' 
109— Bob,  30 ;  rice. 
110 — Mary,  25 ;  rice,  prime  woman. 

Sold  for  $1,135  each. 
Ill — Anson,  49;  rice — ruptured,  one  eye. 
112 — Violet,  55  ;  rice  hand. 

Sold  for  $250  each. 
113 — Allen  Jeffrey,  46  ;  rice  hand  and  sawyer  in  steam  mill. 
114 — Sikey,  43  ;  rice  hand. 
115 — Watty,  5  ;  infirm  legs. 

Sold  for  S520  each. 
116 — Eina,  18;  rice,  prime  young  woman. 
117 — Lena,  1. 

Sold  for  $645  each, 
lis — Pompey,  31 ;  rice — lame  in  one  foot. 
119 — Kitty,  30;  rice,  prime  woman. 
120— Pompev,  Jr.,  10;  prime  bov. 
121— John,  7. 
122— Noble,  1 ;  bov. 

Sold  for  S580  each. 
341 — Goin,  39  ;  rice  hand. 
342 — Cassander,  35  ;  cotton  hand — has  fits. 
343 — Emiline,  19;  cotton, -prime  young  woman. 
344 — Judy,  11 ;  cotton,  prime  girl. 

Sold  for  $400  each. 
345 — Dorcas,  17;  cotton,  prime  woman. 
346 — Joe,  3  months. 

Sold  for  Si. 200  each. 
347— Tom,  22  :  cotton  hand.     Sold  for  $1,260. 
348— Judge  Will,  55  ;  rice  hand.     Sold  for  $325. 
349 — Lowden,  54;  cotton  hand. 
350 — Hagar,  50  ;  cotton  hand. 
351 — Lowden,  15  ;  cotton,  prime  boy. 
352 — Silas,  13;  cotton,  prime  boy. 
353 — Lettia,  11;  cotton,  jjrirae  girl. 

Sold  for  $300  each. 
354 — Fielding,  21;  cotton,  prime  young  man. 
355 — Abel,  19  ;  cotton,  prime  vouug  man. 

Sold  for  $1,295  each.*' 
356 — Smith's  Bill,  aged  ;  sore  leg. 
357 — Leah,  46;  cotton  hand. 
358— Sally,  9. 

359 — Adam,  24;  rice,  prime  man. 
360 — Ciiarlotte,  22;  rice,  prime  woman. 
361— Lesh,  1. 

Sold  for  $750  each. 
362 — Maria,  47 ;  rice  hand. 
303 — Luna,  22;  rice,  prime  woman. 
364 — Clementina,  17  ;  rice,  prime  young  woman. 

Sold  for  $950  each. 
365 — Tom,  48 ;  rice  hand. 
366 — Harriet,  41 ;  rice  hand 
367 — Wanney,  19;  rice  hand,  prime  young  man. 


308— Deborah,  G. 

369 — Infant.  3  months. 

Sold  for  $700  each. 

It  seems  as  if  every  shade  of  character  capable  of  being  impli- 
cated in  the  sale  of  human  flesh  and  blood  was  represented  among 
the  buyers.  There  was  the  Georgia  fast  young  man,  with  his  panta- 
loons tucked  into  his  boots,  his  velvet  cap  jauntily  dragged  over  to 
one  side,  his  cheek  full  of  tobacco,  which  he  bites  from  a  huge  plug, 
that  resembles  more  than  anything  else  an  old  bit  of  a  rusty  wagon 
tire,  and  who  is  altogether  an  animal  of  quite  a  different  breed  from 
your  New  York  fast  man.  His  ready  revolver,  or  his  convenient 
knife,  is  ready  for  instant  use  in  case  of  a  heated  argument.  White- 
iieck-clothed,  gold-spectacled,  and  silver-haired  old  men  were  there, 
resembling  in  appearance  that  noxious  breed  of  sanctimonious  dea- 
cons we  have  at  the  North,  who  are  perpetually  leaving  documents 
at  your  door  that  you  never  read,  and  the  business  of  whose  mendi- 
cant life  it  is  to  eternally  solicit  subscriptions  for  charitable  associa- 
tions, of  which  they  are  treasurers.  These  gentry,  with  quiet  step 
and  subdued  voice,  moved  carefully  about  among  the  live  stock, 
ignoring,  as  a  general  rule,  the  men,  but  tormenting  the  women 
with  questions  which,  when  accidentally  overheard  by  the  disinte- 
rested spectator,  bred  in  that  spectator's  mind  an  almost  irresistible 
desire  to  knock  somebody  down.  And  then,  all  imaginable  varie- 
ties of  rough,  backwoods  rowdies,  who  began  the  day  in  a  spirited 
manner,  but  who,  as  its  hours  progressed,  and  their  practice  at  the 
bar  became  m^ore  prolific  in  results,  waxed  louder  and  taikier  and 
more  violent,  were  present,  and  added  a  characteristic  feature  to 
the  assemblage.  Those  of  your  readers  who  have  read  "  Uncle 
Tom," — and  who  has  not? — will  remember,  with  peculiar  feelings, 
^  Legree,  the  slave-driver  and  woman-whipperi  That  that  character 
viis  not  been  overdrawn,  or  too  highly  colored,  there  is  abundant 
testimony.  Witness  the  subjoined  dialogue :  A  party  of  men  were 
conversing  on  the  fruitful  subject  of  managing  refractory  "niggers;" 
some  were  for  severe  whipping,  some  recommending  branding,  one 
or  two  advocated  other  modes  of  torture,  but  one  huge  brute  of  a 
man,  who  had  not  taken  an  active  part  in  the  discussion,  save  to 
assent,  with  approving  nod,  to  any  unusually  barbarous  proposition, 
at  last  broke  his  silence  by  saying,  in  an  oracular  way,  "You  may 
say  what  j^ou  like  about  managing  niggers ;  I'm  a  driver  myself, 
and  I've  had  some  experience,  and  I  ought  to  know.  You  can  man- 
age ordinary  niggers  by  lickiu'  'em,  and  givin'  'em  a  taste  of  the 
hot  iron  once  in  awhile  when  they're  extra  ugly  ;  but  if  a  nigger 
really  sets  himself  up  against  me,  I  can't  never  have  any  patience 
with  him.  I  just  get  my  pistol  and  shoot  him  right  down  ;  and 
that's  the  best  way." 

And  this  brute  was  talking  to  gentlemen,  and  his  remarks  were 
listened  to  with  attention,  and  his  assertions  assented  to  by  more 
than  one  in  the  knot  of  listeners.  But  all  this  time  the  sale  was 
going  on,  and  the  merry  Mr.  Walsh,  with  many  a  quip  and  jest,  was 


beguiling  the  time  when  the  bidding  was  slow.  The  expression  on 
tlie  faces  of  all  who  stepped  on  the  block  was  always  the  same,  and 
told  of  more  anguish  than  it  is  in  the  power  of  words  to  express. 
Blighted  homes,  crushed  hopes  and  broken  hearts,  was  the  sad  story 
to  be  read  in  all  the  anxious  faces.  Some  of  them  regarded  the 
pale  with  perfect  indifference,  never  making  a  motion,  save  to  turn 
from  one  side  to  the  other  at  the  word  of  the  dapper  Mr.  Bryan, 
that  all  the  crowd  might  have  a  fair  view  of  their  proportions,  and 
then,  when  the  sale  was  accomplished,  stepped  down  from  the  block 
Avithout  caring  to  cast  even  a  look  at  the  buyer,  who  now  held  all 
their  happiness  in  his  hands.  Others,  again,  strained  their  eyes 
with  eager  glances  from  one  buyer  to  another  as  the  bidding  went 
on,  trying  with  earnest  attention  to  follow  the  rapid  voice  of  the 
auctioneer.  Sometimes,  two  persons  only  would  be  bidding  for  the 
same  chattel,  all  the  others  having  resigned  the  contest,  and  then 
the  poor  creature  on  the  block,  conceiving  an  instantaneous  prefer- 
ence for  one  of  the  buyers  over  the  other,  would  regard  the  rivalry 
with  the  intensest  interest,  the  expression  of  his  face  changing  with 
every  bid,  settling  into  a  half  smile  of  joy  if  the  favorite  buyer  per- 
severed unto  the  end  and  secured  the  property,  and  settling  down 
into  a  look  of  hopeless  despair  if  the  other  won  the  victory. 

daphney's  baby. 

The  family  of  Primus,  plantation  carpenter,  consisting  of  Daph- 
ney  his  wife,  with  her  young  babe,  and  Dido,  a  girl  of  three  years 
old,  were  reached  in  clue  course  of  time.  Daplmey  had  a  large 
shawl,  which  she  kept  carefully  wrapped  round  her  infant  and  her- 
self. This  unusual  proceeding  attracted  much  attention,  and  pro- 
voked many  remarks,  such  as  these  : 

"  What  do  you  keep  ^'our  nigger  covered  up  for  ?  Pull  off  her 
blanket.  " 

"  What's  the  matter  with  the  gal  ?  Has  she  got  the  head- 
ache ?  " 

"  What's  the  fault  of  the  gal  ?  Ain't  she  sound  ?  Pull  off  her 
rags  and  let  us  see  her. 

"  Who's  going  to  bid  on  that  nigger,  if  you  keep  her  covered 
up.     Let's  see  her  face.  " 

And  a  loud  chorus  of  similar  remarks,  emphasized  with  profanity, 
and  mingled  with  sayings  too  indecent  and  obscene  to  be  even 
hinted  at  here,  went  up  from  the  crowd  of  chivalrous  Southern 

At  last  the  auctioneer  obtained  a  hearing  long  enough  to  explain 
that  there  was  no  attempt  to  practise  any  deception  in  the  case — 
the  parties  were  not  to  be  wronged  in  any  way  ;  he  had  no  desire 
to  palm  off  on  them  an  inferior  article  ;  but  the  truth  of  the  matter 
was  that  Daphney  had  been  confined  only  fifteen  days  ago,  and  he 
thouQ-ht  that  on  that  account  she  was  entitled  to  the  slight  indul- 
gence  of  a  blanket,  to  keep  from  herself  and  child  the  chill  air  and 
the  drivino;  rain. 

Will  your  lady  readers  look  at  the  circumstances  of  this  case  ? 


The  day  was  tlie  2il  Jay  of  March.  Daphney's  baby  was  born  into 
the  -worhl  on  St.  Valentine's  happy  day,   the  14th  of  February. 

Since  her  confinement,  Daphney  had  traveled  from  the  planta- 
tion to  Savannah,  where  she  had  been  kept  in  a  shed  for  six  days. 
On  the  sixth  or  seventh  day  after  her  sickness,  she  had  left  her 
bed,  taken  a  railroad  journey  across  the  country  to  the  shambles, 
was  there  exposed  for  six  days  to  the  questionings  and  insults  of 
the  negro  speculators,  and  then  on  the  fifteenth  day  aftei'  her 
confinement  was  put  up  on  the  block,  with  her  husband  and  her 
other  child,  and,  with  her  new-born  baby  in  her  arms,  sold  to  the 
highest  bidder. 

It  was  very  considerate  of  Daphney  to  be  sick  before  the  sale, 
for  her  wailing  babe  was  worth  to  Mr.  Butler  all  of  a  hundred 
dollars.     The  family  sold  for  ^625  a-piece,  or  $2,500  for  the  four. 


This  was  a  couple  not  quite  a  year  married,  and  were  down  in 
the  catalogue  as  "  prime.  "  They  had  no  children  yet ;  Mary, 
with  a  reprehensible  lack  of  that  tender  interest  in  Mr.  Butler's 
affairs  that  had  been  exibited  in  so  eminent  a  degree  by  Daphney, 
had  disappointed  that  worthy  man's  expectations,  and  the  baby  as 
yet  was  not.  But  Bob  and  Mary  sold  for  $1,135  a-piece,  for  all 

In  another  instance,  Margaret,  the  wife  of  Doctor  George,  who 
was  confined  on  February  IG,  though  the  name  of  herself  and 
family  were  inserted  in  the  catalogue,  did  not  come  to  the  sale, 
and  consequently,  they  were  not  disposed  of  at  all.  As  Margaret's 
baby  was  fully  four  days  old  at  the  time  she  was  required  to  start 
on  her  journey  to  Savannah,  we  can  only  look  at  her  refusal  to  go 
as  a  most  culpable  instance  of  perversity.  Margaret  should  be 
whipped,  and  branded,  and  otherAvise  kindly  admonished  of  her 
great  sin  in  thus  disappointing  the  reasonable  expectations  of  so 
kind  a  master.  But  Mr.  Butler  bore  with  her  in  a  truly  Christian 
spirit,  and  uttered  no  reproach — in  public  at  least.  It  was  the 
more  unkind  of  Margaret,  too,  because  there  were  six  in  the  family 
who  would  have  brought  probably  $4,000,  and  all  were  detained 
from  the  sale  by  the  contumacy  of  misguided  Margaret. 

While  on  the  subject  of  babies,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  Amity, 
chattel  No.  316,  wife  of  Prince,  chattel  No.  S15,  had  testified  her 
earnest  desire  to  contribute  all  in  her  power  to  the  worldly  wealth 
of  her  master  by  bringing  into  the  world  at  one  time  chatties  Nos. 
317  and  318,  being  a  fine  pair  of  twin  boys,  just  a  year  old.  It  is 
not  in  evidence  that  Amity  received  from  her  master  pny  testi- 
monial of  his  appreciating  her  good  behavior  on  this  occasion,  but 
it  is  certain  that  she  brought  a  great  price,  the  four,  Prince,  Amity 
and  the  twins  selling  for  $670  a-piece,  being  a  total  of  $2,6b0. 

Many  other  babies,  of  all  ages  of  baby-hood,  were  sold,  but  there 
•was  nothing  particularly  interesting  about  them.  There  wore  some 
thirty  babies  in  the  lot ;  they  are  esteemed  worth  to  the  master  a 


hundred  dollars  the  day  they  are  born,  and  to  increase  in  value  at 
the  rate  of  a  hundred  dollars  a  year  till  they  are  sixteen  or  seven- 
teen years  old,  at  "which  age  they  bring  the  best  prices. 


Jeffrey,  chattel  No.  319,  marked  as  a  "prime  cotton  hand," 
aged  23  years,  was  put  up.  Jeffrey  being  a  likely  lad,  the  compe- 
tition was  high.  The  first  bid  v.-as  §1,100,  and  he  was  finally  sold 
for  $1,310.  Jeffrey  was  sold  alone  ;  he  had  no  incumbrance  in  the 
shape  of  an  aged  father  or  mother,  who  must  necessi^rily  be  sold 
with  him;  nor  had  he  any  children,  for  Jeffrey  wns  not  married. 
But  Jeffrey,  chattel  No.  319,  being  human  in  his  affections,  had 
dared  to  cherish  a  love  for  Dorcas,  chattel  No.  278  ;  and  Dorcas, 
not  having  the  fear  of  her  master  before  her  eyes,  had  given  her 
heart  to  Jeffrey.  Whether  what  followed  was  a  just  retribution  on 
Jeffrey  and  Dorcas,  for  daring  to  take  such  liberties  with  their 
master's  property  as  to  exchange  hearts,  or  whether  it  only  goes  to 
prove  that  with  black  as  with  white  the  saying  holds,  that  "  the 
course  of  true  love  never  did  run  smooth,"  cannot  now  be  told. 
Certain  it  is  that  these  two  lovers  were  not  to  realize  the  consum- 
mation of  their  hopes  in  happy  wedlock.  Jeffrey  and  Dorcas  had 
told  their  loves,  had  exchanged  their  simple  vows,  and  were  be- 
trothed, each  to  the  other  as  dear,  and  each  by  the  other  as  fondly 
beloved  as  though  their  skins  had  been  of  fairer  color.  And  who 
shall  say  that,  in  the  sight  of  Heaven  and  all  holy  angels,  these 
two  humble  hearts  were  not  as  closely  wedded  as  any  two  of  the 
prouder  race  that  call  them  slaves  ? 

Be  that  as  it  may,  Jeffrey  was  sold.  He  finds  out  his  new  mas- 
ter ;  and,  hat  in  hand,  the  big  tears  standing  in  his  eyes,  and  his 
voice  trembling  with  emotion,  he  stands  before  that  master  and 
tells  his  simple  story,  praying  that  his  betrothed  may  be  bought 
with  him.  ThouL'h  his  voice  trembles,  there  is  no  embarrassment 
in  his  manner;  his  fears  have  killed  all  the  bashfulness  that  would 
naturally  attend  such  a  recital  to  a  stranger,  and  before  unsympa- 
thizing  witnesses  ;  he  feels  that  he  is  pleading  for  the  happiness  of 
her  he  loves,  as  well  as  for  his  own,  and  his  tale  is  told  in  a  frank 
and  manly  way. 

"I  loves  Dorcas,  young  Mas'r;  I  loves  her  well  an'  true;  she 
says  she  loves  me,  and  I  know  she  does ;  de  good  Lord  knows  I 
loves  her  better  than  I  loves  any  one  in  de  wide  world — never  can 
love  another  woman  half  so  well.  Please  buy  Dorcas,  Mas'r. 
"We're  be  good  sarvants  to  you  long  as  we  live.  We're  be  married 
right  soon,  young  Mas'r,  and  de  chillun  will  be  healthy  and  strong, 
Mas'r,  and  dey'U  be  good  sarvants,  too.  Please  buy  Dorcas,  young 
Mas'r.     We  loves  each  other  a  heap — do,  really  true,  Mas'r." 

Jeffrey  then  remembers  that  no  loves  and  hopes  of  his  are  to  en- 
ter into  the  bargain  at  all,  but  in  the  earnestness  of  his  love  he  has 
forgotten  to  base  his  plea  on  other  ground  till  now,  when  he  bethinks 
him  and  continues,  with  his  voice  not  trembling  now,  save  with 

eagerness  to  prove  how  worthy  of  many  dollars  is  the  maiden  of  his 
heart : 

''Young  Mas'r,  Dorcas  prime  woman — Al  woman,  pa.  Tall 
gal,  sir  ;  long  arms,  strong,  healthy,  and  can  do  a  heap  of  work  in 
a  day.  She  is  one  of  de  best  rice  hands  on  de  whole  plantation  ; 
worth  §1,200  easy,  Mas'r,  an'  fus'rate  bargain  at  that." 

The  man  seems  touched  by  Jeffrey's  last  remarks,  and  bids  him 
fetch  out  his  "gal,  and  let's  see  what  she  looks  like." 

Jeffrey  goes  into  the  long  room,  and  presently  returns  Avith  Dor- 
cas, looking  very  sad  and  self-possessed,  without  a  particle  of  em- 
barrassment at  the  trying  position  in  which  she  is  placed.  She  makes 
the  accustomed  curtsy,  and  stands  meekly  with  her  hands  clasped 
across  her  bosom,  waiting  the  result.  The  buyer  regards  her  with 
a  critical  eye,  and  growls  in  a  low  voice  that  the  "gal  has  good 
p'ints."  Then  he  goes  on  to  a  more  minute  and  careful  examina- 
tion of  her  working  abilities.  He  turns  her  around,  makes  her 
stoop,  and  walk ;  and  then  he  takes  off  her  turban  to  look  at  her 
head  that  no  wound  or  disease  be  concealed  by  the  gay  handker- 
chief ;  he  looks  at  her  teeth,  and  feels  of  her  arms,  and  at  last  an- 
nounces himself  pleased  with  the  result  of  his  observations,  whereat 
Jeffrey,  who  has  stood  near,  trembling  with  eager  hope,  is  over- 
joyed, and  he  smiles  for  the  first  time.  The  buyer  then  crowns 
Jeffrey's  happiness  by  making  a  promise  that  he  will  buy  her,  if 
the  price  isn't  run  up  too  high.  And  the  two  lovers  step  aside  and 
cono-ratulate  each  other  on  their  good  fortune.  But  Dorcas  is  not 
to  be  sold  till  the  next  day,  and  there  are  twenty-four  long  hours  of 
feverish  expectation. 

Early  next  morning  is  Jeffrey  alert,  and,  hat  in  hand,  encouraged 
to  unusual  freedom  by  the  greatness  of  the  stake  for  which  he  plays, 
he  addresses  every  buyer,  and  of  all  who  will  listen  he  begs  the  boon 
of  a  word  to  be  spoken  to  his  new  master  to  encourage  him  to  buy 
Dorcas.  And  all  the  long  morning  he  speaks  in  his  homely  way  with 
all  who  know  him,  that  they  will  intercede  to  save  his  sweetheart 
from  being  sold  away  from  him  forever.  No  one  has  the  heart  to 
deny  a  word  of  promise  and  encouragement  to  the  poor  fellow,  and, 
joyous  with  so  much  kindness,  his  hopes  and  spirits  gradually  rise 
until  he  feels  almost  certain  that  the  wish  of  heart  will  be  accom- 
plished. And  Dorcas,  too,  is  smiling,  for  is  not  Jeffrey's  happiness 
her  owu  ?" 

At  last  comes  the  trying  moment,  and  Dorcas  steps  up  on  the 

But  now  a  most  unexpected  feature  in  the  drama  is  for  the  first 
time  unmasked  :  Doreas  is  not  to  he  sold  alone,  but  with  a  family  of 
four  others.  Full  of  dismay,  Jeffrey  looks  to  his  master,  who 
shakes  his  head,  for,  although  he  might  be  induced  to  buy  Dorcas 
alone,  he  has  no  use  for  the  rest  of  the  family.  Jeffrey  reads  his 
doom  in  his  master's  look,  and  turns  away,  the  tears  streaming 
down  his  honest  face. 

So  Dorcas  is  sold,  and  her  toiling  life  is  to  be  spent  in  the  cotton 


fields  of  South  Carolina,  wliile  Jeffrey  goes  to  the  rice  plantation  of 
the  Great  Swamp. 

And  to-morrow,  Jeffrey  and  Dorcas  are  to  say  their  tearful  fare- 
well, and  go  their  separate  ways  in  life,  to  meet  no  more  as  mortal 

But  didn't  Mr.  Pierce  Butler  give  them  a  silver  dollar  a-piece  ? 
Who  shall  say  there  is  no  magnanimity  in  slave-owners  ? 

In  another  hour  I  see  Dorcas  in  the  long  room,  sitting  motionless 
as  a  statute,  with  her  head  covered  with  a  shawl.  And  I  see  Jeffrey, 
who  goes  to  his  new  master,  pulls  off  his  hat  and  says  :  "  I'se  very 
much  obliged,  Mas'r,  to  you  for  tryin'  to  help  me.  I  knows  you 
would  have  done  it  if  you  could — thank  you,  Mas'r — thank  you — 
but — its — berry — hard  " — and  hear  the  poor  fellow  breaks  down 
entirely  and  walks  away,  covering  his  face  with  his  battered  hat, 
and  sobbing  like  a  very  child. 

He  is  soon  surrounded  by  a  group  of  his  colored  friends,  who, 
with  an  instinctive  delicacy  most  unlocked  for,  stand  quiet,  and 
with  uncovered  heads,  about  him. 

Anson  and  Violet,  chattels  Nos.  Ill  and  112,  were  sold  for  ^250 
each,  both  being  old,  and  Anson  being  down  in  the  catalogue  as 
"  ruptured  and  as  having  one  eye."  Violet  was  sold  as  being  sick. 
Her  disease  was  probably  consumption,  which  supposition  gave  rise 
to  the  following  feeling  conversation  between  two  buyers  : 

"  Cheap  gal,  that,  Major!" 

"Don't  think  so.  They  may  talk  about  her  being  sick  ;  it's  no 
easy  sickness  see's  got.  She's  got  consumption,  and  the  man  that 
buys  her  '11  have  to  be  a  doctrin'  her  all  the  time,  and  she'll  die  in 
less  than  three  months.  I  won't  have  anything  to  do  with  her — 
don't  want  any  half  dead  niggers  about  me." 


Guy,  chattel  No.  419,  "a  prime  young  man,"  sold  for  $1,280, 
being  without  blemish  ;  his  age  was  twenty  years,  and  he  was  alto- 
gether a  fine  article.  His  next-door  neighbor,  Andrew,  chattel  No. 
420,  was  his  very  counterpart  in  all  marketable  points,  in  size,  age, 
skill,  and  everything  save  that  he  had  lost  his  right  eye.  Andrew 
sold  for  only  ^1,040,  from  which  we  argue  that  the  market  value  of 
the  right  eye  in  the  Southern  country  is  $240. 


When  the  family  of  Mingo,  consisting  of  his  wife,  two  sons  and  a 
daughter,  was  called  for,  it  was  announced  by  the  auctioneer  that 
chattel  No.  322,  Dembo,  the  eldest  son,  aged  20,  had  the  evening 
before  procured  the  services  of  a  minister,  and  been  joined  in  wed- 
lock to  chattel  No.  404,  Frances,  and  that  he  should  be  compelled 
to  put  up  the  bride  and  groom  in  one  lot.  They  were  called  up, 
and,  as  was  to  be  expected,  their  appearance  was  the  signal  for  a 
volley  of  coarse  jokes  from  the  auctioneer,  and  of  ribald  remarks 
from    the   surrounding   crowd.     The   newly-married   pair  bore  it 


bravely,  although  one  refined  gentleman  took  hold  of  Frances's 
lips  and  pulled  them  apart,  to  see  her  age. 

This  sort  of  thing  it  is  that  makes  Northern  blood  boil,  and 
Northern  fists  clench  with  a  laudable  desire  to  hit  somebody.  It 
"was  almost  too  much  for  endurance  to  stand  and  see  those  brutal 
slave-drivers  pushing  the  women  about,  pulling  their  lips  apart  with 
their  not  too  cleanly  hands,  and  committing  many  another  indecent 
act,  while  the  husbands,  fathers  and  brothers  of  those  women  were 
compelled  to  witness  these  things,  without  the  power  to  resent 
the  outrage. 

Dembo  and  Frances  were  at  last  struck  off  for  $1,320  each,  and 
■went  to  spend  their  honey-moon  on  a  cotton  plantation  in  Alabama. 


The  auctioneer  brought  up  Joshua's  Molly  and  family.  He 
announced  that  Molly  insisted  that  she  was  lame  in  her  left  foot, 
and  perversely  would  walk  lame,  although  for  his  part,  he  did  not 
believe  a  word  of  it.  He  had  caused  her  to  be  examined  by  an 
eminent  physician  in  Savannah,  which  medical  light  had  declared 
that  Joshua's  Molly  was  not  lame,  but  was  only  shamming.  How- 
ever, the  gentlemen  must  judge  for  themselves  and  bid  accordingly. 
So  Molly  was  put  through  her  paces,  and  compelled  to  trot  up  and 
down  along  the  stage,  to  go  up  and  down  the  steps,  and  to  exercise 
her  feet  in  various  ways,  but  always  with  the  same  result,  the  left 
foot  would  be  lame.      She  was  finally  sold  for  $695. 

Whether  she  really  was  lame  or  not  no  one  knows  but  herself, 
but  it  must  be  remembered  that  to  a  slave  a  lameness,  or  anything 
that  decreases  his  market  value,  is  a  thing  to  be  rejoiced  over.  A 
man  in  the  prime  of  life,  worth  $1,600  or  thereabouts,  can  have 
little  hope  of  ever  being  able,  by  any  little  savings  of  his  own,  to 
purchase  his  liberty.  But  let  him  have  a  rupture,  or  lose  a  limb, 
or  sustain  any  other  injury  that  renders  him  of  much  less  service 
to  his  owner,  and  reduces  his  value  to  $300  or  $400,  and  he  may 
hope  to  accumulate  that  sum,  and  eventually  to  purchase  his 
liberty.  Freedom  without  health  is  infinitely  sweeter  than  health 
without  freedom. 

And  so  the  Great  Sale  went  on  for  two  long  days,  during  which 
time  there  were  sold  429  men,  women  and  children.  There  were 
436  announced  to  be  sold,  but  a  few  were  detained  on  the  plan- 
tations by  sickness. 

At  the  close  of  the  sale,  on  the  last  day,  several  baskets  of  cham- 
pagne were  produced,  and  all  w'ere  invited  to  partake,  the  wine 
being  at  the  expense  of  the  broker,  Mr.  Bryan. 

The  total  amount  of  the  sale  foots  up  $303,850 — the  proceeds 
of  the  first  day  being  $161,480,  and  of  the  second  day  $142,370. 

The  highest  sum  paid  for  any  one  family  was  given  for  Sally 
Walker  and  her  five  children,  who  were  mostly  grown  up.  The 
price  was  $6,180. 


The  highest  price  paid  for  a  single  man  was  $1,750,  which  was 
given  for  William,  a  "fair  carpenter  and  caulker," 

The  highest  price  paid  for  a  woman  was  ^1,250,  which  was  given 
for  Jane,  "cotton  hand  and  house  servant." 

The  lowest  price  paid  was  for  Anson  and  Violet,  a  gray-haired 
couple,  each  having  numbered  more  than  fiftj  years  ;  they  brought 
but  $250  a-piece. 


Leaving  the  Race  buildings,  where  the  scenes  we  have  described 
took  place,  a  crowd  of  negroes  were  seen  gathered  eagerly  about  a 
white  man.  That  man  was  Pierce  M.  Butler,  of  the  free  City  of 
Philadelphia,  who  was  solacing  the  wounded  hearts  of  the  people  he 
had  sold  from  their  firesides  and  their  homes,  by  doling  out  to  them 
small  change  at  the  rate  of  a  dollar  a-head.  To  every  negro  he  had 
sold,  who  presented  his  claim  for  the  paltry  pittance,  he  gave  the 
munificent  stipend  of  one  whole  dollar,  in  specie  ;  he  being  provided 
with  two  canvas  bags  of  25  cent  pieces,  fresh  from  the  mint,  to  give 
an  additional  glitter  to  his  generosity. 

And  now  come  the  scenes  of  the  last  partings — of  the  final  sepa- 
rations of  those  who  were  akin,  or  who  had  been  such  dear  friends 
from  youth  that  no  ties  of  kindred  could  bind  them  closer — of  those 
who  were  all  in  all  to  each  other,  and  for  whose  bleeding  hearts 
there  shall  be  no  earthly  comfort — the  parting  of  parents  and  chil- 
dren, of  brother  from  brother,  and  the  rending  of  sister  from  a  sis- 
ter's bosom ;  and  0  !  hardest,  cruellest  of  all,  the  tearing  asunder 
of  loving  hearts,  wedded  in  all  save  the  one  ceremony  of  the  Church 
— these  scenes  pass  all  description  ;  it  is  not  meet  for  pen  to  meddle 
with  tears  so  holy. 

As  the  last  family  stepped  down  from  the  block,  the  rain  ceased, 
for  the  first  time  in  four  days,  the  clouds  broke  away,  and  the  soft 
sunlight  fell  on  the  scene.  The  unhappy  slaves  had  many  of  them 
been  already  removed,  and  others  were  now  departing  with  their 
new  masters. 

That  night,  not  a  steamer  left  that  Southern  port,  not  a  train  of 
cars  sped  away  from  that  cruel  city,  that  did  not  bear  each  its  own 
sad  burden  of  those  unhappy  ones,  whose  only  crime  is  that  they  are 
not  strong  and  wise.  Some  of  them  maimed  and  wounded,  some 
scarred  and  gashed,  by  accident,  or  by  the  hand  of  ruthless  drivers 
— all  sad  and  sorrowful  as  human  hearts  can  be. 

But  the  stars  shone  out  as  brightly  as  if  such  things  had  never 
been,  the  blushing  fruit-trees  poured  their  fragrance  on  the  evening 
air,  and  the  scene  was  as  calmly  sweet  and  quiet  as  if  Man  had 
never  marred  the  glorious  beauties  of  Earth  by  deeds  of  cruelty 
and  wrong.